As per the American Pets Products Association, about 57 million dogs are part of American families. Dogs can be unpredictable and bite though, and some can inflict incredible damage when they attack. Bite injuries can vary widely in severity, from puncture wounds to crushed muscles, bones, and nerves. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, about 66% of all dog bite victims are children. They’re particularly vulnerable to dog bite injuries given their height and sensitive skin. As such, the Commonwealth of Kentucky has laws that operate in a dog bite victim’s favor that place liability squarely on a dog owner’s shoulders.
Kentucky’s Dog Bite Statute
The Blue Grass State has its own dog bite statute that’s found at KRS 258.235(4). It’s a strict liability statute that holds a dog’s owner liable for injuries and damages regardless of whether his or her dog has bitten anybody in the past. It states as follows: “Any owner whose dog is found to cause damage to a person, livestock or other property shall be responsible for that damage.” The word “owner” is central to who might be strictly liable for a dog bite in Kentucky. KRS 258.095(5) defines a dog’s owner as anybody who has a right of property in a dog and anybody else who:
- Keeps or harbors the dog.
- Has the dog in his or her care.
- Permits the dog to be on or about premises that are owned or occupied by him or her.
- Permits the dog to remain on or about the premises leased and occupied by him or her.
Injuries Other Than From Bites
The Commonwealth’s dog bite statute doesn’t just contemplate bites either. Attacks other than bites fall under its purview. So even the behavior of a dog that jumps up and knocks a victim down and causes injury to the victim falls under Kentucky’s strict liability dog bite law.
Common Dog Bite Injuries
If you’ve been bitten by a dog anywhere in Kentucky, you need not prove that the dog’s owner was negligent in failing to control his or her dog. With its strict liability rule, a dog’s owner is liable for any injuries inflicted by their dog, regardless of the fact that the dog never bit anybody in the past or exhibited any aggressive behavior. Here are some common dog bite injuries that victims suffer in Kentucky dog attacks:
- Bone fractures, especially to the arms and hands.
- Facial scarring and eye injuries.
- Traumatically amputated fingers.
- Head, facial, and neck injuries and scarring.
- Ripped and damaged nerves.
What to Do After a Dog Attacks
Time is the essence in any case involving injuries suffered in a dog attack. So if the victim was you or a family member, here’s how you should proceed:
Obtain Immediate Medical Attention:
Any dog bite is going to present a significant risk of infection. At a very minimum, seek care and treatment at an urgent care center. Depending on the severity of the attack, an emergency room might be a better choice.
Identify the Dog
The dog that bites you or your family member must be tracked down, and its owner must be identified. It’s that owner who is responsible for compensating you for the injuries or damages that are caused to the victim.
Report the Attack
You must report the attack to local animal control authorities. Include any information that you might have about the dog or its owner. Fully cooperate with any investigation.
Preserve the Evidence
Take periodic photos of your injuries as treatment begins and the healing process starts. If clothing is torn or bloody, save it. Don’t wash it. You might even want to take photos of the dog itself and where the attack occurred. Be sure to jot down the contact information for any witnesses.
Don’t speak with the Opposing Insurance Company
The insurer of the owner of the dog that attacks you or your family member may want to devalue or deny your claim for damages. For example, they can use seemingly innocent information that you give them against you if the opportunity arises. Contact us at Kaufman & Stigger, PLC, and request a free confidential case evaluation and review instead. You’ll be protecting your rights by doing so.
Damages in Dog Bite Cases
Serious disfigurement and scarring can result from any dog attack. After an attack, a claimant is going to demand compensation for their injuries and damages. Especially if they need reconstructive or cosmetic scar revision surgery. Nonetheless, permanent disfigurement and scarring can occur. On that basis, damages one can seek in a Kentucky dog bite case can include the following:
- Payment of past and future medical bills.
- Lost earnings, if applicable and any earnings lost in the future.
- Any permanent disability or disfigurement.
- Pain and suffering, including emotional anxiety.
- Diminished enjoyment of life.
- Punitive damages under certain circumstances.
The Statute of Limitations
Every state has a specific period of time in which to file a personal injury lawsuit to seek compensation for damages. So in Kentucky, that period is a mere one year from the date of an accident. If a dog bite victim fails to bring an appropriate lawsuit within that one year, he or she cannot seek compensation in the future. One exception to this rule is if a minor is the victim of the attack. Then, the statute of limitations extends to one year beyond his or her 18th birthday.
Regardless of Kentucky’s law of strict liability in the context of dog attacks, a victim’s award might reduce by any percentage of fault attributable to him or her under the law of comparative fault. For example, if a jury determines that a claimant was 20% at fault for an attack, his or her award of $100,000 would decrease to $80,000. As Kentucky is a pure comparative state, reductions can go far below that level, even down to 99%.
After sustaining an injury during a dog attack, obtain medical care and treatment right away. Afterward, contact us here at Kaufman & Stigger, PLLC right away, and we’ll arrange for a free and confidential consultation and case review. You can tell us about the attack and how it has affected you. Then, we’ll advise you of your full range of legal options. No up-front legal fees are even due. As we take these types of cases on a contingency fee basis, we don’t accept legal fees at all unless we obtain a settlement or award for you. It’s our objective to maximize that settlement or award in your dog bite case.
Kaufman & Stigger Dog Bite & Animal Injury Settlements
Below are a few of our client settlements.
Settlement: Dog Bite Injury Accident $300,000.00 Policy Limits A 31-year-old was attacked by Pitbull. Victim had a fractured arm and needed surgery as a result. Our firm settled his case for policy limits $300,000.00.
Settlement: Dog Bite Injury Accident $200,000.00 – A 30-year-old female sustained a bite on the face resulting in permanent scarring. Our firm settled her case for $200,000.00.
Settlement: Dog Bite Injury Accident $225,000.00 – A 10-year-old was chased and jumped on by a dog that had was loose in their neighborhood. The child suffered from a knee fracture that required surgery. Our firm settled this case for $225,000.00.
Settlement: Dog Bite Injury Accident $100,000 Policy Limits – A United States Postal Service employee was delivering a package at a residence. The dog escaped from the home and attacked the USPS employee resulting in significant leg injuries. Our firm settled this case for $100,000.00.
Settlement: Dog Bite Injury Accident $90,000 – A 3-year-old client was bitten on the arm and head and sustained multiple injuries. Our firm settled this case for $90,000.00.
Settlement: Dog Bite Injury Accident $75,000 – A 6-year-old client was bitten on the face by a dog resulting in injuries and scarring. Our firm settled this case for $75,000.00.
Settlement: Dog Bite Injury Accident $60,444 – A Fed Ex employee was bitten on the hand and injured by a dog while delivering packages. The dog owner was unable to provide proof of vaccination requiring our client to get a series of 4 rabies shots. Our firm settled this case for $60,444.00.
Settlement: Animal Injury Accident $49,500.00 – A sheep escaped from a neighboring property and charged our client resulting in knee injuries. Our firm settled this case for $49,500.00.
Contact a Kentucky Dog Bit Attorney
If you suffer sudden and unexpected injuries as a result of a dog bite in Kentucky, it will be in your best interests to speak to a personal injury lawyer at Kaufman & Stigger, PLLC for a free confidential consultation and case review. Call (800) 937-8443 to speak to a member of our legal team today.